Archives for category: women

There are other voices than mine. There are other lived truths than the truth I live myself. There are other perspectives, other viewpoints, other angles from which to consider each very human moment. There are other tales to tell, told by other travelers. Each existing alongside all the others, their existence, itself, does nothing to diminish the truth of the others; these are narratives. Subjective experiences of being human, in all its wonder, glory, pain, and joy. I tell mine here, my way. ๐Ÿ™‚

A friend posted on Facebook recently that she is undertaking her own healing journey, walking that hard mile, processing trauma, seeking healing, and that she had started a blog. She started a group, to post to, understanding that perhaps not everyone wants to share that journey with her. I appreciate the consideration. I respect the journey; I’ve been on my own such journey for a while now. I reflected back on that moment when I decided to start a journey, and a blog, and considered how that “went down”, and the reactions I’d gotten at that time, from friends and loved ones (a fairly discouraging mix of disinterest, distance, and patronizing comments, generally, and a couple folks sincerely interested in being supportive). I asked myself, explicitly, “how do I want to ‘be there’ for my friend, and her experience, right now?”

I provided a reply I hoped would be welcoming and supportive, and accepted the request to join her group. Why would I not? Reluctance to be triggered? I grant you; it’s a risk. (People in my life spend a lot of time opening up to me about trauma, as it is. I’ve survived it so far.) People need to feel heard. They need emotionally secure relationships in which to open up about what hurts them. Me, too. Can I “be there” to support that? Of course I can. It’s on me to set and manage my boundaries, if it gets to be too much, and even that is a way of being there for a friend or loved one, setting that powerful example that it is also okay to set boundaries, and showing what that looks like, in practice. Practice. Yeah – and also, because I, too, am entirely made of human, I need practice, myself. Practice at listening deeply. Practice at maintaining perspective on past trauma. Practice understanding that we each walk our own hard mile. Practice at “being there” for others. Practice, frankly, at being the woman I most want to be – in every interaction, every moment, on every day. Words are just words. It’s the verbs that make changes come to life. It’s what we practice that matters; we become what we practice.

This morning I read the first of her posts (that I’ve read). I savored her voice. The difference in her style of communication. I read from a place of non-judgmental acceptance, and non-attachment. Her tale is not my tale, however similar some details may seem; she is having her own experience. I listen with empathy, consideration, compassion. I listen deeply. I recognize her humanity, her unique experience. I acknowledge the human experience beyond the words. I nod quietly, more than once. “I know you,” I think to myself. Still, I also allow her her moment; we are individuals, with our own experiences, our own pain. We’re in very different places on our individual journeys. That doesn’t matter as much as “being there” – being present, aware, and compassionate – because although we are each having our own experiences, we’re also “all in this together”. I sip my coffee and contemplate the journey stretching ahead of her.

Ask the questions. Do the verbs. Begin again.

Sipping coffee and thinking about cautions and warnings and good advice at the last possible minute, and strong recommendations against very foolhardy actions. All of that? Don’t do those things! lol From the earliest “don’t put that in your mouth” observations from childhood to the latest-in-life reminders to “wrap it up”, “vaccinate”, “don’t drive drunk” or “don’t reheat reheated leftovers again, especially after they’ve been out on the counter for hours”… and the lingering, oft-repeated, equally often disregarded “what the fuck are you doing??” – Don’t do the thing!!

I’m just noticing, I guess, how frequently the cautionary advice in life is seriously fucking basic.

It makes sense to refrain from just picking shit up off the floor or the ground and sticking it your mouth. Just saying, we generally grow out of that impulse fairly young, but… I do actually know folks who are “bare backing” their casual sexual encounters and don’t seem to realize how stupid “aw, hell, I mean, they don’t look like they have vd…” actually sounds. Excuses about not getting the flu shot don’t sound more reasoned. People still choose – deliberately choose – to drive while intoxicated, or exhausted. People still disregard the basics of kitchen hygiene at home and make themselves or their loved ones sick with food borne illnesses, regularly (they’d never pay money to eat in that kitchen, though, and they’d raise hell if they got food poisoning from a restaurant).

Take care of yourself. Skillfully done, good self-care enhances a lifetime – potentially a longer one. I’m not sure it even takes more effort to heed wise cautions, and to care for ourselves with the same attention we bring to our jobs. Isn’t it mostly a matter of choices? Of listening? Of acting in our own best (long-term) interests?

What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back from a life well-lived, and from enjoying the results of good decision-making?

I reflect on my own failures to take my own best advice to heart. I reflect on how my emotional qualify of life can influence my practical decision-making. I consider where I can improve, and what choices I can make differently, every day. I find myself wondering if taking steps to practice the very best, most skillful, self-care has any positive outcome for the world… or just for me…

…Soon enough, I notice it is already time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another Monday finished off, in due time. Hardly a routine work day, and I could have easily arrived home in a completely shitty mood, after spending the last half of my work day struggling not to snarl at people (it was that sort of day).

I didn’t. I made other choices, although, honestly, I’m sort of tired now, and… just a tad uncertain which choices had what result. lol Choices were made, however, and some were made differently. New perspective? Different perspective. Close enough.

I got home tired. I’m not even bitching; it wasn’t a particularly long day, and I still have some evening ahead of me to relax, read, write, and do some things to support my own wellness and quality of life. It feels good. It’s a small thing, but keeping some of my focus on my own needs really does make a huge difference, and when I don’t – however worthy the reason, I eventually pay a price for it in a reduction in quality of life, health, emotional resilience, or some moment of aggravation blown out of proportion.

I sat down to write and found this:

…Has it been 6 years?

Funny thing, though… I mean… I write like I breathe (which is to say, reliably, most of the time, and without any particular effort or need to think about it, and fairly unavoidably; it’s part of my existence). How is 6 more years of writing actually an achievement? I nibble at my fairly nutritious dinner, and give that some thought.

6 years ago, I was walking a very different path.

6 years. 6 years of living life. Now that’s an achievement. 6 years of learning to love truly well. 6 years of sharing my heart and my moments with my Traveling Partner. Hell of an achievement right there; love takes some major verbs, done well. 6 years of forgiving myself. 6 years of forgiving others. 6 years of laughing at my own dumb jokes. 6 years spent doing more than crying. 6 years of hiking, camping, and pouring over maps of trails yet to be walked. Those are pretty cool achievements. 6 years of work I can be proud of. 6 years of lasting friendships, and new friends. Definitely some achievements in there. 6 years of more daydreams than nightmares – that’s a big achievement, most particularly because it has continued to improve over time. ๐Ÿ™‚ 6 years of practicing practices, sharing tales from a journey through a wilderness of chaos and damage, traveling in the twilight of evening light… and somehow, it seems a stroll through a sunny meadow much of the time, in year 6. That’s an achievement I don’t even know how to measure. Feels good.

So… yeah… I guess the tl;dr is “I registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago”. This may not be “happily ever after”… but it is pretty nice, generally. ๐Ÿ™‚ I chose to make a change. That was an achievement. I’ve just kept making changes, and when I falter, I begin again. That’s an achievement. Thanks, WordPress.com, you’ve been a hell of a platform for change. ๐Ÿ™‚

Still walking my path, paved with verbs and new beginnings, illuminated with love.

I am feeling weirdly restless today, and strangely discontented. I suspect it sources with the general feeling of not being respected that has come up (subjectively) more in these past couple of weeks. It’s not even personal, and it is highly doubtful that the handful of real people delivering that experience are even aware that I perceive it that way. In the case of the government, it is a willful sort of blindness, because we are surely all fucking shouting about it fairly loudly.

I take a breath. I seek perspective. I check in with a friend. It’s helpful to have a reality check on such things. I’ve learned to be explicit about my needs. “I’m feeling a bit disrespected, and under appreciated, today…” isn’t that hard to say out loud, as it turns out, and often generates replies that meet that need for visibility, appreciation, and regard. It helps.

I think about “running away from home”. I’m a grown up. I’ve got my own place. A vehicle. I manage my own time. I could make a plan to go somewhere, to do something, but it isn’t about that – it’s about walking on from what is uncomfortable. Sometimes we can (and I often do), and sometimes that is not the ideal choice, or the timing for such things is poor. It’s like that today.

Today, the job feels like a job….

…I grimace quietly, take another breath, and remind myself I am being paid. I exchanged, by agreement, a measure of my life force for a pay check. So… okay.

It’s time to begin again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yesterday was weird. I was angry all day; I’m a women, living in a nation that does not respect or value women, facing the possible Supreme Court appointment of an accused rapist. Well, shit. We’ve already got that very same sort ofย grotesquerie seated in the Whitehouse, and unknown, uncounted, unacknowledged numbers of that very same bullshit in our Congress, the Senate, our government agencies, our workplaces, and yes, even in some of our homes. Don’t be afraid to feel angry; this shit is worth our anger.

Be angry.

Vote.

Anger is weird toxic shit, though. As with a proper fairytale curse, it inevitably spills back in some way on the deliverer. We carry our anger in secret – problematic – then explode – inappropriate, ineffective, and generally the consequences are unpleasant. We end up doing a lot of “damage control” and repairing our angry words with excessive apologies, even pleading, and submissive posturing. We could do better with our anger. We can learn to be more skillfully, relentlessly, effectively angry. I’m not there yet – but I believe in the possibility, and the helpful folks of the rich white guy frat boy club currently holding office are totally here to help; they are keeping me seriously angry. I’m getting lots of practice.

One challenge is holding focus and keeping my anger relevant, limited, and correctly directed where it belongs. Preventing my anger from spilling over everywhere, into every relationship, is sometimes hard. The lines between actual harms, and perceived slights, become blurry. Anger is powerful shit. Wielding it skillfully tends not to come very naturally to me after a lifetime of being told I can’t have mine, that it’s not appropriate to express my anger, that my anger is unreasonable… being told for a lifetime to stop talking, to sit down and shut up, to restrain myself… being shouted down and talked over, for a lifetime, in most relationships (whether work or professional)… the underlying chronic persistent repression, being robbed of personal agency, being provided a restricted set of human and civil rights (just for lacking a penis, for fucks’ sake)… Yep. Harnessing that massive seething roiling pent-up body of lifetime rage and very carefully directing just so, at a particular moment or movement or person… is fucking hard.

One challenge is not being convinced, by those well-meaning loved ones inconvenienced by – or frightened of – my anger, to dim my light, to mute my voice, to stifle my rage. Rage is scary shit. I’m keeping mine, thanks. I’m fucking angry. I’m not going to shut up about it. You can walk on if that’s a problem for you. I’m okay with that.

No yelling though. No yelling in the house. No yelling in the morning. No yelling in frustration. Just… no yelling. Yelling is triggering, and generally, once a person is reduced to yelling, no communicating is happening at all. Knock that shit off. It’s not useful.

Seriously. Man or women. No fucking yelling. Take a deep breath. Give yourself a moment to calm the fuck down, and try again – without yelling.

I want to live my life well and beautifully. I want to enjoy moments. I want to indulge in life’s pleasures. I want great conversation, with close friends, and people who care passionately about things in life that also matter to me. I want to enjoy lovely emotionally relevant art. I want to feel joyous and empowered. I want to approach my life as a journey that belongs wholly to me. I don’t want to be swamped by my anger. I don’t want to be incapacitated or overwhelmed by it. I don’t want it to become a festering wound that deepens over time. There is much to consider.

I sip my coffee and consider it.

I sip my coffee and consider the friendship of women, too. So many of us struggle with that; women have been divided, often. Women are powerful together. It’s time we reach out more easily to each other. Forge lifetime friendships that support, encourage, nurture – and take back our world. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night I enjoyed the company of two women. One I’d met before, briefly, and one I had not met previously. Women of great heart and emotional depth. Women with something to say about themselves, and about life. Women with a trajectory – a vision of their desired future. Women who care. Women who laugh. Women who “get it”. We had a great evening of conversation. We were authentic and vulnerable. We were real and frank, and funny. We forgot to go to dinner. We overlooked the time. We talked – continuously, delightedly, eagerly – in that very specific way that generally leads to, in other homes, on other evenings, some man breaking in to announce he “can’t get a word in edgewise”, or to make a “playful” accusation that we talk to much, or to request some service or task that he could easily handle himself, or to point out that we are “chattering away” in some dismissive tone – as if our words with each other matter less than our willingness to put our attention on him. I am so fucking done with that. (Keep up, bruh, or listen politely and maybe learn something.)

This Kavanaugh bullshit has gotten me – a lot of women – pretty angry. We don’t feel heard. We don’t feel supported. It’s become too hard to avoid recognizing that women are specifically not valued, and are specifically perceived as property, even now, and even by the men in the fucking government (why the fuck have we elected this??). It’s hard. So… I converse. I converse with women. I’m not making any particular effort in those moments of conversation to make room for the care and consideration of men; I need to be heard. I also need to be educated… or… un-indoctrinated, at least.ย So I’m also reading. The titles are very telling, I suppose: “Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny“, “Rage Becomes Her“, “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower“… I am clearly not alone in my anger. I have spent far too long on the words of men. For balance, though, I’m also keeping “Resilient:ย How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness” close at hand. I do seek balance. Utility. Function. Effectiveness. I am not looking to loose the wild anger of my ancient pain on the world – just see through some changes that would improve the world for women, and thereby for all of us.

If you’re a man hoping to be some part of some sort of solution, listening is a good starting point. Really listening. Making room to understand that we (women) are having a very different experience of life than you are. (Please don’t push back on this with some sort of statement about your experience and your needs; we fucking know already, we live that reality for you every fucking day, it is part of our daily indoctrination, and even our formal educations. Knock it off for a bit, okay? That’s specifically the ask here; give us a moment of your time, really. Authentically. Listen deeply. Hear us.)

Enough with that. I’ve probably said enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

This morning is lovely and quiet, following a merry evening of lively conversation with beautiful well-spoken women. Powerful. I enjoy my coffee smiling quietly. It’s a good morning. I feel content, and whole. I am aware of my anger in the background – it does not rob me of this lovely quiet moment. It’s an extraordinary place to be with myself. I’ve come a long way as a woman, and as a human being, over the past couple years, and this feels like a reward for a lot of committed focused effort to be the woman, the person, I most want to be. I eagerly look ahead to seeing my Traveling Partner sometime soon, and sharing his energy, here, in this lovely space. We’re good together, and it feels good to be supported, valued, nurtured… Fuck. I miss him.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m betting that this visit won’t find my anger crowding out my love; there is room for all my emotions to exist in my experience. I am a human being – a creature of both emotion and reason.

“Emotion and Reason” 18″ x 24″ acrylic w/ceramic and glow details, 2012

It’s time to begin again. It’s time to change the world. โค